In 1990 Glasgow became the first ever UK city to be named the European Capital of Culture, what followed was an unprecedented boom in the creative industries transforming the image of the city from industrial heartland to cultural metropolis. In 2014 Glasgow will host the Commonwealth Games and the city is once more is shaping up for a period of development the likes of which may not be seen for another generation.
In the context of general economic stagnation the games are bringing much needed investment to regenerate some of the most underdeveloped areas of the city with the East End of Glasgow benefiting in particular. Several large scale public realm and infrastructural projects are set to launch and there has already been massive investment with the construction of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the controversial creation of the athletes village in Dalmarnock, a proportion of which will become available for social rental after the games. Beyond the excitement and hubbub of hosting the games is the prospect of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Fund Open Programme. At least £4 million is being made available to artists and creatives in Glasgow and around Scotland providing highly considered targeted funding that will engage a diverse range of audiences beyond the realm of sport. Through its aims and objectives the Cultural Fund promises to stimulate a programme of projects that will strengthen and broaden the creative economy and celebrate innovation and creative talent that leaves a lasting legacy for everyone in Glasgow. What’s more the key partners involved, Glasgow 2014, Creative Scotland, and Glasgow Life have the recent experience of the London 2012 Cultural Programme to draw on as well as the Velocity Operational Plan as a guide for locating projects. With these elements in place the cultural activities held in the lead up to, during and beyond the Commonwealth Games have the best possible chance of being well integrated projects that leave a lasting, meaningful impact. Who knows, the next few years in Glasgow might well see an explosion in the cultural economy greater than that in 1990, but what is certain is that the city is going to be an incredibly exciting place to be! Pidgeon Perfect